Chris Massie the avenger

Just like any other individual guitar maker who’s been doing this for long enough I have a few “skeletons in the closet”. When for nearly 15 years you deal with all kinds of people from all around the world it’s inevitable you will run into several of a very special kind. Please, get me right. I’ve done my share of stupid stuff in my time (and probably still doing some) and there are definitely people who have every right to be upset with their experience. However, this particular story is about somebody else.

I’ve known Chris Massie for many years. He’s contacted me multiple times before, took quite a bit of my time discussing orders and specs but never really “pulled the trigger”. Being a cheap skate that he is, paying 5-6K for his own custom guitar was way out of his budget so he would go for second hand stuff most of the time. That’s how he got two of his older ViK Guitars. Something extraordinary happened and at one point after I’ve already moved to US he contacted me again and actually placed an order for a custom guitar. He did prove my point about being a cheap-skate by trying to “negotiate”/lowball the price to his liking (which in my 15 years happened only twice before with people from China). Anyway about 8 months later he got his ViK Duality 6 “Frozen” and seemed to like it a lot. Let’s emphasize this fact: he paid money and received his order was faster than most people. 

About 6 months before NAMM’20 I began working on a super secret project at the time – first ViK headless model ViK Domineer H. The idea was to present 5 Domineers of 6 to 8 strings. I reached out to a group of my trusted customers and they took all the available builds knowing that they would not see a thing until the guitars are presented at NAMM. Chris Massie was one of them, however instead of taking up a spot I offered he countered me into making a way cheaper headless bass instead which would barely fit the NAMM special category (speaking of sheep-skates). I didn’t have plans or intends to present any basses at the time, not to say develop a brand new model just for him in such a short time. But Chris was a “buddy” and so I took it on which I deeply regret to this day.

 Being a very impatient person (like all cheap skates are after they actually spent money on something) Chris kept bugging me every couple of weeks to see progress even though he was told right away that for total secrecy and surprise purpose I wouldn’t show anything to anyone until the show. He also said he’d be picking up the bass in person right at the show so I was working countless hours to make all of them happen. Just a few days before the show he told me he’s not coming and so I left the bass progress behind to focus on the real exponents I wanted to show off. I could have spelt a few more nights if he had told me he wouldn’t be coming anyway but hey that’s what friends are for, right? 

I took some time after the show to recharge after all the sleepless nights and extreme workload stress. Chris was right there with the updates inquiries. Then out of nowhere he surprised me again by asking to make a “bro” project for him and his buddy Aurelien. I just got a few sets of absolutely amazing quilted maple tops, showed them to the Bros and they placed their orders. 

A month later Covid hit, California and most of US went into lockdowns, schools closures and mass hysteria with all the masks, shut down businesses, international travel bans, etc. Major guitar and guitar parts factories went shut down for months. Carriers felt behind for months with international deliveries, affecting supply chains for lots of things that you need to operate and deliver. I’m not even talking about the phycological state that whole situation played on small businesses like myself, whose survival depends on monthly paycheck. In times like that you have to prioritize stuff that could help get you thru the next “billing cycle” and keep things going. Inevitably some projects would be left behind, left but not forgotten. That’s the story of most of 2020 for many of us. Well, definitely not those who were sitting in their offices handing over government subsidized loans and getting steady paycheck every 2 weeks, not people like Chris.

In the fall of 2020 I started posting pictures of the carbon fiber stuff I was working on. And ever since under nearly every single one of them Chris Massie was gassing about how much he loves that and that he would give up both of his custom orders to get a guitar like that. Being a good friend and wanting to make him happy at some point I reached out to him and asked If he would want me to build a carbon fiber Duality 7ff for him instead of the two other projects. He said yes. He was very vague with the shape and options he wanted so it took couple of months to figure it out. And even though it was a fairly big inconvenience for me given how much work and money I’ve already spent on those other builds I started the new project. 

About 3 months into the new build Mr.Massie told me he’d be coming to CA for a vacation and asked if I’d be willing to hang out, let him visit the shop etc. I said surely yes and I suggested that he should also pickup his carbon ViK Duality 7ff while he’s there. Everything seemed great. He set the date for the visit and even asked for hotel reservations advice and then a week before that set date he suddenly had a “change of heart”.. that beautiful Monday morning I woke up to see him go ballistic on me with text messages full of personal insults and baseless accusations. I’m a fairly emotional person and could easily go off on him too for that kind of behavior out of nowhere, yet I tried to calm him down and pickup the conversation with cool heads. But being a “hotshot” he is Massie went on and on until the point of no-return. Next day he called me at 6am like 3 times and then texted suggesting “we can still be friends and all he wanted is to see some pics”. Well, maybe that’s where he should have started the day before. Normally you don’t hit somebody in the face and then ask what time is it. I have zero tolerance for people getting personal, threatening me and my business and well-being of my family. Period. I’m not charging enough to put up with somebody’s egos, tempers, personal tantrums and other shenanigans. 

On top of all that it turned out the guy’d never bought the tickets and wasn’t actually coming (of which he didn’t think he should have informed me so I could adjust my plans, my workflow and live my life accordingly). So I said to him that I would ship the guitar to him once it’s done next week but I didn’t ever want to hear from him again. That would probably satisfy most decent people. But for Chris it was not acceptable. For him it was either “we are friends” or “I will murder your business”. I suggested he do as he feels, as I didn’t care about him anymore. I don’t do friends or deal with mentally sick people. It’s way outside of my job description. So I blocked him out on the phone and went back to working on that instrument. It was completed in time but even before that Mr. Massie had already “gone public” with his creepy insinuations and lies.

 The dude edited that post like a million times to polish it to perfection. However, here’s how to show in few words when somebody is full of shit.

Somehow it’s his business what kind of cars I own and drive. Well, it’s none of nobody’s fucking business but for the sake of this article my “brand new imported cars” are 2008 and 2016.

Last time I was “constantly taking expensive vacations” was a 6 days car trip with the family to Yosemite and lake Tahoe in July 2020 and then 6 days car trip to Boise for the New Year’21. Wouldn’t even make a dent in your Yeezy sneakers collection (what a fucking tool this guy??)

That first attempt didn’t get much grip so just the other day he posted the BIG murder post:

“He is constantly moving and changing phone numbers because he’s hiding from those whom he’s done wrong”

I’ve moved twice in my life: first, from Belarus to California in 2018 and now from CA to ID this past summer as we’ve had enough of California in our lives with its’ endless lockdowns, covid hysteria and useless public schools. 

I’ve changed my phone number twice in my life: first, when we moved to California in 2018 and second when we moved to Idaho. 1. There’s absolutely no reason for me to have LA area code number here in ID. 2. This is not a business number, it’s a personal number that is only given to people I want to have it. Chris had it because I considered him more than just a customer. 

I’m not even sure what he means by hiding. I’ve had my shop at the same location for 3 years in Ventura, CA, and for over 10 years in Belarus and all this time participated in every single NAMM show since 2014 (only at one them I was a visitor not exhibitor) and a number of other guitar shows. What kind of hiding/running is that? So how stupid do you have to be to come up with such nonsense or even better believe it? 

This same individual claims that I have “multiple aliases and use them to shuffle his payment accounts to avoid being caught”.. Yes, I do have a personal and a business Paypal account. Just like everybody else. Caught for what exactly? 

“He’s scrambling to sell off his “in-stock” builds because he’s desperate for money”

Building and selling “in-stock” ViK Guitars has always been the plan. This way I can avoid dealing with morons like Chris and buyers don’t have to wait for years for them to be done. Pre-selling allows the buyer to make certain personal adjustments to the final specs so the instrument would be a better fit and wouldn’t have to be modified after it’s done. I hope one day, after I’m done with all custom builds I’m currently working on, I will be able to only make conceptual instruments for sale and guitar shows. That’s why I’ve had “the waiting list is currently closed” post in FAQ on vikkuletski.com for over 2 years and I’ve fully closed custom orders option effective Sep 1, 2021.

This list could go on and on. 

But the real issue here is that people like Chris, however frustrated they seem with their “experience”, don’t always have much to put under their claims and so they have to make up lies, twist facts and spread misinformation to make those claims look legit. They also have to disturb my other customers hoping they would join the clown train and help to take me down. But the thing is most of my customers are very nice, decent  and respectful people. Most of them are also returning customers so they knew what they were doing when ordering their next ViK. And most importantly they know how to contact me in case there’s a problem and behave like adults about it. Unlike Chris Massie here, who all these years posed as a lion but then it turned out he’s just a puppy who wheezes the floor right before taken out for a walk. 

While I was writing this article the dude performed ticktock gang style “execution” of his original ViK Duality 6 “Frozen”.  If I really had to prove anything before now this dude’s insanity doesn’t need any proof. Crazy people would do anything for attention and Chris Massie is now officially the biggest “Drama Queen” I’ve ever encountered in my life. Sad for the instrument but at least he didn’t set himself on fire to get 5 likes on Facebook.

And finally, in the whole history of the internet’s “court of public opinion” it hasn’t solved one issue. It did create a lot of headache and pain for the parties involved and a terrific entertainment for trolls. But that’s all it ever does. I’ve seen many great and not so great builders go down because of places like Facebook and sevenstring.org. Most of those populations are not exactly there for the good of it and as soon as there’s “somebody wrong on the internet” the shit goes down and some lives take a turn. Nobody really cares about the truth or facts. Those things are boring and there’s no fun in them. It’s way more exciting to take down a “rogue luthier who hates gay people and wants to murder them all” or ”an evil mastermind who steals money from everybody and then destroys his phone, burns his IDs, takes down his web-sites and emails and disappears into forever hiding”.. I’ve been there before, very entertaining. But here’s the bottom line: life is too short to waste it on stupid people. 

We’ve Moved!

ViK Guitars has relocated to the great state of Idaho, USA. There’s plenty of things to be taken care of to complete this process (physically, legally and financially) but we are doing all we can to make that happen as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and support and looking forward to making Idaho a new Home and a new “place of birth”

A very special kind of mahogany..

Mother Nature can be very creative and as a result of that once in a while you come across something truly spectacular.. like this piece of genuine mahogany that has very distinctive “plum pudding” figure and also curly pattern! Putting a top over that would be a crime so I ended up turning it into a one piece body ViK Duality 7ff project and named it “Nugget” which it truly is.

ViK Guitars at NAMM’20

ViK Guitars will be exhibiting at booth #2539 at NAMM show 2020 on January 16-19 in Anaheim, CA. Come see what I will have on display. This year is going to be very special! The exhibit will include some top-secret projects built specifically for the show. See you there!

”Hey! Great job, guys!”

“Hey! Great job, guys!” This is the most common comment I’m getting. While it surely is nice for someone to say that, there’s one major problem with it – there’s no “guys”. ViK guitars is a one man show which means all the instruments you see are hand made by one person – luthier Vik Kuletski. From sourcing the timbers to shipping a finished guitar. Same goes for all the pictures, videos, social media, etc including this very message)). A lot for one person to handle. This is why I believe “Luthier” is not a job or profession, it’s a lifestyle. It has its ups and downs but in the end of the day what really matters is the instruments created on this journey. I hope you enjoy what you see as much as I do! Thank you!
Vik

Do the woods actually matter when it comes to electric guitars?

Just recently I had these three custom ViK Duality 6s on my couch. The most interesting part about having them all together was the fact that they shared a whole number of common specs/ingredients like same exact make and model of pickups (SD Alpha/Omega), same Hipshot hardware, same body woods (one piece black limba), close enough selection of neck woods (2 indian rosewood necks, 1 madagascar rosewood), same nuts (buffalo horn), same scales (642mm/25.27″), same fretwire (stainless steel jumbo), same strings (DR 10-46), same tunings (standard E), close enough electronic components (2 exact same, 1 minus push-pull/tone control), same amp, same hands, same simple tunes.. The difference was in tops and fingerboards selection (2 had quilted maple tops that came off the same board, one burl maple; indian rosewood/ziricote/laos ebony fingerboards). So naturally you’d expect them to play and sound about the same… However, even plugged into a small half-digital practice amp (Boss Katana 50W) they all had very distinctive and unique tones/characters. Digging deeper would allow to find out how exactly the tone was affected by the variable elements but that’s a topic big enough for a full article. Here’s a little video comparison I shot at the shop, hopefully it will give you some idea of what I’m on here about: